KOCHI: Faisal Fareed, the prime accused in smuggling of gold using diplomatic baggage sent from UAE to its consulate official in Thiruvananthapuram, has been intercepted by the Dubai Police at UAE.
Officials in Customs and NIA confirmed that Faisal of Kaipamangalam in Thrissur district is in Dubai Police custody now. Faisal who has a business in the UAE is residing with his family at Al Rashidiya in Dubai. He was picked up from his residence on Friday and is being interrogated by the police.
It was Faisal who sent a consignment to UAE consulate Charge d' Affairs Rashed Khamis Alshemelli in which 30 kgs of gold were found. The NIA also registered a separate case claiming the involvement of terrorist elements behind the smuggling. Customs so far have arrested 13 persons and NIA arrested two persons. Rashed Khamis Alshemelli has returned to UAE.
"We can confirm that Faisal is in the custody of police in Dubai. The Indian Embassy had passed on all information about Faisal based on the probe conducted by agencies in India to UAE. UAE is also conducting a probe into smuggling gold from Dubai and the involvement of diplomats in it. It was found that some documents were forged including emblem of UAE mission in Thiruvananthapuram to send gold inside baggage addressed to a diplomat which is a matter of concern for UAE. He is likely to be sent back to India soon," sources in the NIA told TNIE.
Faisal is third accused in the case registered by NIA. NIA court on Tuesday issued an open-end Non-Bailable Warrant against him. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a Lookout Circular to intercept him if he arrives or exits the country through any entry port in India. NIA also approached Interpol to issue a Blue Notice against him.
However, it is not yet clear whether Faisal will be given to NIA or the Customs first. With terrorism charges made by NIA against Faisal, the counter-terrorism agency is likely to get the custody of Faisal first. "There is a counter-terrorism treaty signed by India and UAE in 2018 which will help in expediting the extradition of accused from abroad. Faisal will be sent back to India after the probe carried out by UAE," the sources said.
Earlier, Faisal denied his involvement in the case and said that he did not know other persons who were arrested for smuggling the gold. However, both NIA and Customs maintained that he is a seasoned smuggler operating for gangs from Dubai. Customs also had raided his house in Kaipamangalam.